Russia and Azerbaijan are in two strategic triangles

Russia and Azerbaijan are in two strategic triangles

Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia will create a trilateral cooperation mechanism, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday in St. Petersburg during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Russia and Azerbaijan have been building friendship since the beginning of the 2000s. Both from the point of view of the leaders of the countries, Mr. Aliyev and Mr. Putin, and in terms of direct political cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan. Many said that Baku would be such a connection point, a connection link in a Moscow-Baku-Ankara chain,’’ the head of the CIS Department of the Institute of Political Studies, Alexei Bychkov, said.

The topic of compensation for the Russian Su-24 downed by Turkey was not discussed in Putin’s talks with Erdogan, although they met for the first time after the incident in which the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian bomber in November 2015, which caused a long period of cooling of relations. Russia put forward demands for apologies, punishment of those responsible and compensation for damages. Prior to the implementation of these requirements Moscow refused contact with Ankara and put restrictions on the supply of the Turkish products to Russia, the involvement of Turkish citizens in work on the territory of Russia and on air traffic.

"Then it seemed that all connections were destroyed, but the recent events in Turkey have shown that in some situations it may be that Erdogan did not control the military. A new round of Russia's relations with Turkey began, when Erdogan apologized, and a new chain of interactions has already been built up. This is not just a Moscow-Baku-Ankara triangle – we can see that Azerbaijan is becoming the center of communication between Moscow and Ankara and a serious political player in the region,’’ Bychkov said.

These words of the expert are confirmed by yesterday’s summit  in Baku of the heads of Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran – President Ilham Aliyev, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani. During the meeting the sides discussed issues of cooperation in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, the prompt adoption of a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, strengthening of cooperation in the banking sector and the spheres of energy and transport with a view to the development of regional and international energy and transport corridors, the project of the international ‘North-South’ transport corridor, the trilateral format of cooperation in culture, tourism and business cooperation in youth exchanges, consular and customs issues, as well as the issues of deepening relations between the regions and the provinces of the three countries, to further facilitate the visa regime for citizens of the three states.

"This meeting is historic. The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia understand that we cannot continue to keep playing the script of the Roman Caesars, dividing and conquering, but we need to unite. Unite and solve the economic and political problems together," Bychkov said.

The expert also expressed the opinion that adoption of a "historic decision" on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict may happen quite soon: "It will not be settled definitively, but it will be a historic decision that will allow borders to be opened, to create the possibility of exchange of goods and movement of people."

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